Abstract

To investigate the potential of a proposed optical frequency standard, we have measured the lifetime of the metastable 6s′ [1/2]0 state in xenon. Magneto-optically trapped xenon atoms were prepared in the 6s′ [1/2]0 state, and the time dependence of the vacuum-ultraviolet decay signature was analyzed. The total decay rate of 75(3) s−1 is the sum of a 7.8(38)-s−1 spontaneous emission rate (1−σ uncertainties) and a much larger deexcitation rate that is due to a transition driven by room-temperature blackbody radiation.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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